For Greene, a new commissioner

November 12, 2012

For the second time in two years, the Greene County Court of Common Pleas is being called on to fill a position on the board of commissioners.

Pam Snyder, who is in the first year of her third term as commissioner, was decisively elected last Tuesday as the new state representative in the 50th Legislative District, succeeding the now-imprisoned Bill DeWeese, who was barred from running for re-election to the seat he had held since 1976.

In 2010, the court was faced with replacing Commissioner Dave Coder, who was in the middle of his fourth term when he made the surprise announcement he was stepping down to accept a job as deputy director for U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, who was defeated last week by Republican businessman Keith Rothfus in a newly shaped district. A month after Coder’s departure, the court named attorney Chuck Morris to serve out Coder’s term. Morris subsequently ran for and was elected to a full, four-year term in 2011.

We learned last Friday Snyder submitted her letter of resignation as commissioner to the court, effective Nov. 30, so the wheels to get a new face on the board have been set in motion.

At first blush, it would seem the court would need to act quickly to appoint Snyder’s replacement, considering the pressing matters commissioners need to address before the end of the year, such as the 2013 budget.

But we feel confident Morris and fellow Commissioner Archie Trader can put together a spending plan on their own. In fact, it’s not unlikely the preliminary budget already has had Snyder’s input.

Moreover, the new appointee would probably not have enough time to become familiar with the county’s fiscal landscape.

We don’t relish the task facing the court.

Before naming Coder’s replacement, the court in 2007 had to name a replacement for Commissioner John Gardner, who died just prior to the May primary, in which he was seeking his fifth term.

At the time, we advocated for Scott Blair, who served on the board from 2000 to 2004 after defeating Gardner in the 1999 general election.

The court instead appointed Gardner’s widow, Judy, to serve the remaining months of her late husband’s term.

In retrospect, the court made the right choice, anointing Judy Gardner as a transitional figure who did not seek the office once she completed serving her late husband’s term.

That scenario did not hold for Coder’s replacement, and we don’t expect it to hold for Snyder’s replacement.

We have heard some names thrown around, so it will be interesting to see who does, in fact, seek the appointment. In the meantime, we have respect for the court’s judgment and have full confidence judges William Nalitz and Farley Toothman will choose the person they believe can step in immediately and work cohesively with Morris and Trader.



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